DVD-RAM discs can be recorded, erased, and played only in component DVD-RAM recorders or compatible DVD players and computer drives. While DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs are said to be playable in many DVD-Video players, they're not guaranteed to play in all. Some of the incompatibility problems could eventually be solved by DVD Multi recorders that can handle more than one rewritable format.
DVD recorders have analog video inputs so you can do time-shift recording of TV shows just as you would with a VCR. But their blindingly fast data-transfer speeds (up to 22 megabits per second) and random access (no rewinding!) allow them to do things VCRs never could. For example, you can set bookmarks, find selections instantly, and play them in any order. Panasonic's DMR-E20 even lets you simultaneously record one show on a DVD-RAM while playing back another one you previously recorded on the same disc. Of course, like VCRs, DVD recorders won't let you copy DVD-Video movies.
The Choice Is Yours With these features in mind, study the listings on these pages, and then head to the store to check out the models on your "most wanted" list. (You can't be sure a player has your name on it until you actually put it through its paces.) Some of the players weren't available at press time, but the manufacturers planned to have them in stores by early November. All quoted specs were supplied by the manufacturers.
As with any cutting-edge technology, you'll probably have to pay a little extra for the perks we've highlighted, but they'll not only provide the best DVD performance available - they'll help protect you from obsolescence. The best reason to buy a player sporting one or more of these features, however, is so you can enjoy its capabilities now rather than later. They definitely make a good thing even better.
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